The emotional side of foreclosure

So, this is what foreclosure looks like. Chances are, there’s a house like this in your neighborhood. Sad, isn’t it? Our beloved home is currently in foreclosure limbo, stalled by the bankruptcy’s automatic stay. The lender has not tried to have the stay lifted, and our bankruptcy is far from complete, so six months after we left it, the house remains empty and unloved. I’ve been trying to think of some way we could go back and save our home, some way to tweak our bankruptcy or finances or expenses, but there simply isn’t. The fact remains: With one of us unemployed, our mortgage is simply not affordable, and the lender has flatly refused to modify it.

Most of the time, I am OK with our less-than-ideal situation. I tend not to dwell on negativity, and I’m actually really good at doing what needs to be done, putting the past behind me, and moving on. But some days it’s harder than others.

Yesterday at work, a coworker announced that she’d just bought a house in a fancy-schmancy golf-club community. She’s all excited about redecorating it. This morning, a group of my coworkers were talking about their half-million-dollar homes, $250k renovations, custom-built houses, investment-property condos, and beach houses. At least half of my eight coworkers own multiple homes.

For someone who has recently lost the one simple homestead she’d always wanted, this conversation was incredibly difficult to listen to. I don’t want anything fancy, I don’t need a vacation home or a pretentious neighborhood. I just want our house back. I confided in Tony my feeling that it’s just not fair; that my contemporaries — who are not any more or less successful than we are — get to have fabulous homes, and we’re stuck in a rental house with a foreclosure that’s no fault of our own. Tony said that it’s pretty much just luck that determines these things. As with job hunting in this economy, a lot of the time it’s about who you know, or being in the right place at the right time. Or, in our case, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the middle of a perfect fucking storm.

Please don’t misunderstand me: I know life isn’t fair. I don’t begrudge my coworkers their good fortune, and truly wish them the best. I am incredibly thankful for what we do have, and I know that we are better off than many, many other people right now. We have each other, I still have my job, we have reasonably good health, and there is enough money to take care of all the necessities. I have lived in my share of shabby places in the past, and I’m acutely aware of how much better off I am now than I used to be. Even so, today, the unfairness of it all has left me feeling really sad.


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